Janice Marie Pennington (born July 8, 1942 in Seattle, Washington) is an American former model, actress and author. She is best known for being one of the two original and the longest-serving Barker's Beauty on The Price is Right to date: 28 Years, September 4, 1972-December 15, 2000.
Early life and careerEdit
Native of Seattle, Washington, at the age of 19, Janice landed her first job as a dancer was at the Seattle World's Fair. From there she traveled to Las Vegas where she worked as a dancer and showgirl with such show-business legends as Jimmy Durante and Eddie Fisher.
At just 22 years of age, she flew to New York to pursue a modeling career. There, she signed with the famous Eileen Ford Agency and fashion photography and television commercials ensued. Janice has appeared in over seventy commercials for such products as Dove, Chrysler, Max Factor, Whirlpool and Anacin.
Also while in New York, she formed a rock group called "The Models," which traveled to Europe with Liza Minnelli and performed at the Olympia Theater as one of Minnelli's opening acts. She was signed to the MGM Records label and recorded the famous song "Bend Me, Shape Me." Industrial films and small budget movies became a part of her growing career. For two years, she worked as an actress and a cast-mate of Orson Welles in his last film, The Other Side Of The Wind, with such notables as Dennis Hopper, John Huston, Peter Bogdanavich and other famous stars.
Pennington likewise appeared in many such episodic TV series as Ironside, The Courtship Of Eddie's Father, starring Bill Bixby and Lucas Tanner, in addition to appearing in cameo roles on other television series. She likewise acted alongside Elliot Gould in the film I Love My Wife.. Moreover, she performed as an entertainer on variety shows like Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, the Bob Hope television specials and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. During her tenures on those shows, she worked with Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett, among others. In 1969, she became one of the regulars on the hit variety show Laugh-In, as mentioned above, after actress Goldie Hawn decided to part ways with the series.
The Price Is RightEdit
In August 1972, Pennington was hired to shoot the pilot for a planned revival of the television game show The Price is Right (previously hosted by Bill Cullen from 1956-1965 on NBC and then ABC) which Bob Barker, who had been hosting Truth or Consequences since 1956, was slated to be the new host.
On September 4, 1972, The Price is Right made it's nationwide debut at 10:30am on CBS and immediately, the show became ratings gold. At the start of more than 6,000 shows, Janice handed Barker his microphone (Anitra Ford handed Bob his microphone on the series premiere episode as she was partially seen on-camera while Janice modeled the very first Item Up for Bids which was a Fur Coat). She also handed off the microphone to Dennis James and Tom Kennedy on the syndicated nighttime versions in 1972-1977 (Barker took over until it's cancellation in 1980) and 1985-1986 respectively.
On the (airdate) May 14, 1976 daytime episode, a special showcase was presented, titled Janice Pennington, This is Your Strife. The showcase featured prizes (and clips) with which Pennington had had some mishaps;: the Pop-Up bar that had refused to pop up, the overstuffed refrigerator that had nearly fallen on her and a convertible whose bumper she had nearly crashed when driving it out on stage for the Lucky Seven game (fellow model Dian Parkinson drove the car out on stage during the actual showcase) During the rehearsal of that show, the staff actually rehearsed a fake showcase so that Janice would have no clue on what was happening.
However, on a syndicated episode of The Price is Right that same year, during the Cliff Hangers Game, host Dennis James had referred to the mountain climber as "Fritz." He was not aware of Pennington's heartbreaking personal crisis (detailed below) as her then-husband, Fritz Stammberger, had disappeared while mountain climbing in Afghanistan. The contestant who had played Cliff Hangers had lost the game as the mountain climber tumbled off the cliff and James shouted, "There goes Fritz!" which sent a devastated and distraught Janice running and remaining backstage crying, she did not appear on-camera for the remainder of that show.
This unfortunate incident marked the one and only time the Cliff Hangers Game would be played on the syndicated version (during James' tenure, the game was played again on the final episode in 1980) and some fans later speculated that this was the reason Dennis was ultimately dismissed from his hosting duties. This incident is also to be believed as to why Janice was never present onstage with the game, modeling the smaller prizes, on the daytime version, with the exception of one time in November 1993.
The serious injury on The Price Is Right set and litigationEdit
In June 1988 (airdate: October 7, 1988), Pennington suffered a serious injury after a cameraman swung his camera in the wrong direction during the opening sequence. The camera struck Pennington, knocking her off the stage and into the audience area, leaving her unconscious in front in horrified audience members. She was badly injured and was immediately rushed to the hospital for surgery.
The production of this taping was stopped for almost an hour, until the staff was assured that Janice would survive. The taping finally resumed with only Holly Hallstrom and Dian Parkinson modeling (with Holly passing the microphone to Bob Barker at the start of the show). Over the next several weeks while Janice was recovering from her injuries, substitute model Kyle Aletter filled in for her. P
Janice made her much-awaited return to the show on (airdate) November 10th and although she made a full recovery, she could no longer wear swimsuits as her surgeries left some damaging scars and one shoulder shorter than the other. In February 1989, Pennington filed suit against CBS, citing negligence.
The case went to trial, and in March 1992, a jury awarded her $1.3 million for injuries she sustained on the set of The Price is Right.
Her talk show and Husband, Lover, SpyEdit
During the 1991-1992 TV season, Pennington hosted a weekly half-hour talk show called Breaking In, where she revealed the real Hollywood, the stars and the stars behind the stars. She taped and broadcast 45 shows.
Beginning in May 1992, Janice took a leave of absence from The Price is Right and it was during this time period that she flew to Russia to investigate more into the disappearance of her first husband, Fritz Stammberger and it was there she learned that Stammberger was helping the CIA establish mountain bases along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and in 1984, he died during a battle with ISSR forces. Finally able to find closure, Pennington returned to the United States and to the set of Price as well (airdate: May 27th).
In her spare time, Janice was hard at work writing a book detailing her struggles and her determination to find out what happened to her missing husband. The book was titled Husband, Lover, Spy, which she publicly released in early 1994. She has discussed the book with Bob Barker several times on The Price is Right and also, copies of the book were offered as a prize on the show.
Other TV appearancesEdit
In 1968, Pennington appeared on an episode of To Tell the Truth hosted by Bud Collyer (along with her first former husband Glenn Jacobson) where she was the subject while her husband acted as a central character.
In 1972, Pennington appeared on an episode of I've Got a Secret hosted by Steve Allen where she was getting her body painted by Charles Nelson Reilly.
In the mid-1970s, Pennington once appeared as a celebrity panelist on Match Game, hosted by Gene Rayburn, appearing the same week with original Price is Right host Bill Cullen (Anitra Ford has also appeared on the series that same year while Bob Barker and Holly Hallstrom have appeared occasionally as panelists).
In 1989, Pennington appeared on an episode of the short-lived syndicated game show Couch Potatoes hosted by Marc Summers in order to deliver a question.
In 1991, and again in 1993, she appeared with Barker and the cast of The Price is Right, with Bob serving as team captain as they faced off against the cast of the CBS soap The Young and The Restless, with future Price host Doug Davidson serving as their team captain in a Soap Stars vs Barker's Beauties special on Family Feud during the hosting tenure of Ray Combs (on one show in 1993, Janice scored four of the five top answers in the Fast Money Round which resulted in her scoring 200 points by herself and the Price team winning $7,000 for charity).
In 1996, Janice and announcer Rod Roddy appeared as guests on The Oprah Winfrey Show, in a special game show-themed episode titled "Oprah's Wild World of Game Shows." They appeared on the show alongside fellow game show greats Wink Martindale, Peter Marshall, Chuck Barris, and Peter Tomarken. (Roddy was the announcer of Press Your Luck which Tomarken had hosted.)
In 1999, she was interviewed for A&E's Biography about Bob Barker. In March 2001 (a few months after she was dismissed from The Price is Right), in 2001, Janice co-hosted a special Green Ball Awards show ceremony alongside famed Game Show Host Todd Newton, known for his hosting duties on Hollywood Showdown, the GSN original series Whammy: The All-New Press Your Luck as well as being the voice-over host of the 2005 Price is Right DVD Game and The Price is Right Live stage shows. The special aired on the Game Show Network as it showcase clips and handing out awards to some of the most memorable and wackiest moments in all of game show history.
Ironically, the special did not include any clips or memorable and wacky moments from The Price is Right. This was believed to have been Janice's last televised appearance.
Price is Right Departure & LawsuitEdit
In late 2000, Janice's world was rocked by some devastating and heart-shattering news.
After having been with The Price is Right for 28 years and over 6,300 shows, she was abruptly and unjustifiably dismissed from the series. Fellow model Kathleen Bradley (since December 1990 officially) and several of the show's staffers (Linda Riegert, Sherrill Paris, Sharon Friem and director Paul Alter) were also terminated that day. Though no reason was ever given for their dismissal, it was believed that both Pennington and Bradley refused to testify against ex-Barker's Beauty Holly Hallstrom, who was abruptly dismissed back in October 1995 in her wrongful termination suit against Bob Barker and as a result, both ladies were dismissed from their modeling duties.
Neither Janice nor Kathleen were given a proper formal send-off from the show as their unnannounced final appearances aired on December 13th (the next day until sometime in 2002, Nikki Ziering assumed the duties of handing Barker his microphone at the start of each show) which left die-hard fans of the show angry and outraged. There was more hurt and anger over Pennington's abrupt dismissal, due to her longevity with the series, dating back to it's September 4, 1972 premiere. Shortly after her firing, Janice and Kathleen both sued for wrongful termination but they both settled out of court for undisclosed amounts.
Janice's settlement contained a hush clause in which she was prohibited from publicly out speaking against Bob Barker for possibly legal reasons (However, she later stated in a Myspace post in 2003 that she and Bradley were let go by CBS, rather than Barker). Kathleen's settlement on the other hand, did NOT contain a hush clause and has gone on record stating that her termination was "abrupt" and "unexpected" and as an event that she wasn't prepared for. As for former production assistant Sharon Friem, she too filed suit against Bob Barker for wrongful termination and in addition to her court claims, she also sued for sexual harassment, revealing that she became a target of many inappropriate sexual remarks and gestures.
Barker's former staff assistant Sherrill Paris also sued for wrongful termination and both she and Friem later received financial settlements to drop theirs cases against Bob. Linda Riegert's case was rumored to have come out the same as Paris' and Friem's but for Paul Alter however, he was able to briefly regain his position and employment on The Price is Right in early 2001, remaining until his retirement.
Pennington has married three times. She was first married to a man named Glen Jacobson from 1964 until 1973, when they divorced.
The following year, she married her second husband, Fritz Stammberger on May 12, 1974. The very next year, as stated above, Fritz disappeared while mountain climbing in Afghanistan. He was declared legally dead in the early 1980s.
Today, Janice is married to famed writer Carlos De Abreu, since April 20, 1984.
Janice posed nude for the cameras of Playboy magazine, appearing in the May 1971 issue. (several other Barker's Beauties have also posed nude for the popular men's magazine including Dian Parkinson, Nikki Ziering, Cynthia Brimhall, Heather Kozar, Teri Harrison and Gena Lee Nolin).
Her younger sister, Ann, occasionally appeared as a substitute model on the syndicated version of Price (most likely during Dennis James' tenure) and later went on to appear as one of the two card dealers on the 1978-1981 version of Card Sharks, in it's first year on NBC, the series was hosted by the late Jim Perry.
Janice also jointly founded the Hollywood Film Festival with her most recent husband, Carlos De Abreu., in which they are still actively involved in to this present day.
(Janice on The Price is Right, during her 28 years as the longest-running model to date)
Janice on To Tell the Truth (1968)Edit
Janice on I've Got a Secret (1972)Edit
Janice on Match Game (1976)Edit
Janice on Family Feud (Combs)Edit
Janice at the Green Ball Awards (2001)Edit
- Janice Pennington in swimsuits and bikinis
- Janice Pennington (and her first husband Glenn Jacobson) on To Tell the Truth with Bud Collyer
- Janice Pennington has her body painted on I've Got a Secret with Steve Allen
- Janice's unbelievable inspiration putt in the Hole In One Game
- Janice appearing in an early 1970s commercial for Doritos
- Janice tries her hand at the Punch-A-Bunch Game, 1987
- Janice appearing in an AIDS Facts for PSA awareness, 1988
- Couch Potatoes - All in the Family vs. Filthy Rich (Featuring Janice Pennington) 1989
- Janice's (and Kathleen Bradley's) unannounced final appearance on The Price is Right, December 13, 2000 (full episode w/ commercials)
- Janice co-hosting the Green Ball Awards with "Price is Right Live" host Todd Newton, March 24, 2001
- Janice and her husband Carlos de Abreu on the Red Carpet at the Hollywood Film Awards, 2016 (no sound)